The afterlife is open to all persons, religious or non-religious, from all over the world. Our destiny, after this short life is over, is conditioned only by our "spiritual longings and purposes." It is not determined by believing in a correct creed or dogma or by saying the correct words. Rather, we will pass on to the afterlife if we have the faintest desire to know more of God, more of truth, beauty, and goodness. This is a teaching found in The Urantia Book that purports to be a revelation to Earth, which the authors call Urantia. The present book is a brief introduction to The Urantia Book, a complex tome of over 2,000 pages.
The Urantia Book claims to have answers to such timeless questions as: What happens to us when we die? Is there a heaven; if so, what is it like? Is God really love? Has God really set aside a hell in which people who reject him are punished? How do we get to heaven? How did Earth become such a confused and troubled planet? How do we move forward? What is the origin of human life? Many, many more teachings are found in The Urantia Book, including teachings by Jesus that we've never heard before.
In this book, you will find explanations from The Urantia Book that clear up misconceptions of God, some of Jesus' teachings, the nature of the universe and the afterlife; misconceptions which have often caused confusion, heartache, and irrational fear in people all over the world.
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Jesus – The Missing Years, New Teachings & The Afterlife: Based On The Urantia Book
By Paul D. Knott
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Paul D. Knott, Ph.D.
All right reserved.
This book may not appeal to those who are happy in their current religious beliefs. It may be offensive to those who are dedicated to fundamentalist Christian beliefs—although I hope not. This book, however, may be very appealing to those who find it difficult to accept some of the key points of Christian dogma and who are open to a different perspective on some of Jesus' teachings. This different perspective is an encouraging and comforting view on Jesus' teachings and the afterlife. This perspective is based on the Urantia Book, which was published in 1955, but whose origins go back as far as 1911. The Urantia Book claims to be a revelation to the people of this world. It is not a formal religion. It has made its way around the world since 1955 almost exclusively as a word-of-mouth phenomenon. To date, well over half a million copies of it have been published and it has been translated into several languages. The word Urantia is the name for Earth used by the authors of the Urantia Book.
When I first came across the Urantia Book in 1974, I had received my Ph.D. in psychology in 1967 and had published many articles in scientific journals. I was committed to the scientific method in the search for truth and had become agnostic in my religious beliefs. I had grown up in the Southern Baptist Church, but by the time I went to college I had become disenchanted with the fundamentalist approach to Christianity. In particular, I could no longer accept the idea that the Bible was the literal word of God. There were far too many inconsistencies within the Bible itself coupled with too many disconnects with modern science.
After college there followed ten years of inquiry and questioning that led me to an agnostic view toward all religion. Fortunately for me, I never lost my love for the goodhearted people who flourished within the traditional, fundamentalist approach, including my mother, my sister, and many friends. But by 1974 most of my professional associates were also agnostics who took a dim view of all religious fundamentalists—often regarding them (often unfairly) as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals for holding onto their supposed childish, non-scientific beliefs. Then, in 1974, I came across the Urantia Book. This book stunned me for many reasons. I had never read anything as fair and balanced as this book. The information contained in it addressed and seemed to answer the questions I could not find answers for in mainstream Christianity. Nor could I find the answers in Buddhism or many other religions I had looked into. The Urantia Book provided both answers and comfort, intellectual as well as emotional comfort, but at the same time I was vexed by it. Why was this book not discussed in religious and academic circles? It was dealing with profound topics in a profound way, but no one was talking about it. Even though the book had magnificent internal credibility, its authors were supposedly heavenly in origin. This was hard for me to swallow. I spent parts of the next four years trying to prove that the book was a fraud, a scam, using all the skills I had acquired as a scientist. The more I investigated the book, the more impressed by it I became. By the fall of 1978, I began to believe that the book was what it claimed to be.
For example, a question I had never been able to find a satisfactory answer for had to do with the belief of many Christians that only by professing that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and that he had died to wash away your sins could you expect to receive eternal life after your physical death. Did this mean that Jews, Buddhists, and people of other religions would be prohibited from heaven and eternal life unless they converted to Christianity before they died? Did this mean that people all over the world who had never been exposed to Jesus' life and teachings during their lifetimes on earth (a clear majority of people) would be forever denied access to heaven and eternal life?
Many of my Christian friends confirmed to me, somewhat sadly, that this was the way life on Earth had been set up by God, that's the way the rules were written, and it is up to us to accept on faith the idea that God is a loving Father whom we can always trust. But I had too many doubts about trusting a God, and a Son of God, who acted so arbitrarily, so carelessly, toward the fate of the vast majority of people on Earth that I felt driven away from the Christianity of my youth. I was often intrigued in later years by Christian writers who grappled with these same issues and who came up with different views on what it takes to get into the afterlife (given that there is such a thing as an afterlife), but never did I come across a view I could really trust and believe in.
That is, until I came across the Urantia Book. Therein I found a description of the afterlife that made sense, that spoke to the longings of people for goodness, spiritual warmth, love, and high adventure. Here I found a loving God who is merciful toward all his children from all over the world, and for that matter, from all over the universe. Here is a God who has created a vast universe for us to explore and who expects us to learn the nature of and even the secrets of his universe. Here is a God whose love for us, each of us, is so deep and abiding we can barely begin to comprehend it, but we will have eternity in which to grow in our understanding of this profound love that truly governs the universe. Here is a God who fully knows the unique history of our planet Earth—a history that produced conditions on Earth that greatly limit our ability to understand and know God. But these conditions are fully taken into account by God in his treatment of us.
As I was beginning to understand a little more of the true nature of God more and more questions were coming to mind. One question would be answered and that in turn would lead to dozens of new questions. As I read or reread deeper into the Urantia Book (it is over 2000 pages long) the answers to these questions were forthcoming. For example, I found the following assertions in the Urantia Book that helped to answer some of my questions:
>> That there is no hell filled with fire and brimstone. Those individuals who choose not to go on into the afterlife do not awaken in the resurrection halls of the first heavenly world. They never awaken: they no longer exist as individuals. Surprisingly, though, most persons are not asked to make this final decision regarding eternal life until they are already living in the afterlife, when they have a much more thorough understanding of the true nature and will of God.
>> That our awakening in the afterlife is quite a glorious happening brought about by the spirit of God working with our guardian angel. It is God's desire for all his children to join him in the afterlife, although we always retain our ability to act as free will beings.
>> That the main purpose of our life on these first heavenly worlds (called mansion worlds) is to expand our understanding of the universe, how and why it works as it does, and to expand greatly our understanding of the nature and will of God, in particular our relationship with God.
>> That our relationships with other people are the chief memories we take with us when we move on to the first mansion world after Earth. We recognize and reconnect with the people we knew here. In God's plan our relationships with others are building blocks to our souls.
>> That each person is gifted with a fragment of the Spirit of God (the Light Within) whose main purpose is to help us to choose eternal life. This Light Within is not to be confused with our conscience. Children all over the world normally receive this gift from God at about age five or six.
>> That parenting is a required experience in God's universe, for this experience helps us to understand God's love for each of us as his children. Those who do not have this experience on Earth will have it on the mansion worlds.
>> That Adam and Eve were not the first human beings but were supernatural in origin, sent by God to uplift primitive man. However, they defaulted in their mission and we are still suffering the consequences of their "fall from grace."
>> That Lucifer's rebellion against God was a reality in the heavenly worlds and truly did have a horrible impact on Earth's history.
>> That the seriousness of the Lucifer rebellion was one of the major reasons that Jesus chose to come to Earth to show the contrast between God and evil, sin.
>> That we human beings have been created by God as free will beings capable of intelligent, self-reflective thought and God does not interfere with our free will decisions.
>> That evil is the product of bad choices (choices that go against God's will) made by imperfect human beings. That some people choose to do a great deal of evil in their lifetimes. That accidents, however, are an inevitable part of life on an immature planet such as Earth and that accidents and genuine evil—harmful choices made by individuals—are two different things.
>> That Jesus came to Earth to teach us to live the will of God and to correct the many misconceptions of God extant in his day and still in our day as well.
>>That Jesus came to Earth not only to benefit us but also to benefit mortal beings similar to us living on multitudes of other planets, who were allowed to view his life as he lived it, and we too will view his life on Earth after we arrive in the afterlife.
>> That Jesus came to Earth for many great and good purposes, although to be a sacrifice, "to die for our sins," was not one of them. God does not require the death of a son to forgive us our sins.
>> That Jesus arose from death on the third day and later ascended to his Father and that he and God desire all of us to join them in the heavenly worlds. This is the "good news" that Jesus taught.
The above are small samples of the assertions found in the Urantia Book. As noted earlier, a large number of Urantia books have been sold all over the world since 1955. No one, however, was making money off the sales. The receipts were plowed back into publishing more books and paying for translations into a large number of languages other than English. Much of this work was managed by the Urantia Foundation, a non-profit located in Chicago, whose primary founder had been Dr. William Sadler, a well-known psychiatrist and author from the early 1900's through the 1960's.
But Dr. Sadler was not the author of the Urantia Book. Its authorship was claimed to be heavenly beings that in Dr. Sadler's (and others') presence had passed its content initially through a sleeping human subject who was not aware of what he was saying and who was indifferent to the process. Stranger still, Dr. Sadler's professional reputation had been built in part on debunking psychic phenomena. He had convincingly demonstrated that the work of mediums and psychics (so popular in the early 20th Century) was fraudulent or self-delusional. His most notable achievement in this arena was his highly acclaimed book, The Mind at Mischief. Nevertheless, after decades of work in this field, Dr. Sadler stated that the phenomenon he could not explain was the making of the Urantia Book.
All of this struck me as very strange. The book, however, was so brilliantly written in such a balanced, fair-minded way that I was drawn back to it. Could this book really be the product of supernatural beings? By the time I came across the book Dr. Sadler had been dead for several years. I began an in-depth study of it, often in the company of small groups of other readers, to try to determine for myself if the Urantia Book were credible.
Several years of study and inquiry followed during which I slowly came to believe that the Urantia Book was a source of great truths. Was it the ultimate source of truth? No, clearly to me it was not nor did it claim to be. Was it, however, a leap forward in human understanding of our own history, the relationship between God and man, the nature of God and the end purposes of humankind? Yes, I came to believe that it was and is all of these things.
But the most difficult idea for me was still the claim that the Urantia Book was written by celestial beings. This claim would explain the brilliance of the book, but how was this to be verified? The authors of the book assert that, whenever possible, they used human sources to express some of the concepts and ideas found in the book. Why? Because they wanted to use language and ideas that would be somewhat familiar to us, therefore, more readily understandable to us as they were dealing with a great many highly complex concepts. There are, however, many parts of the Urantia Book where clearly no human author has ever ventured. It is impossible to say with certainty that the book's claim to have been indited by celestials is valid or not. It is a matter of opinion and there are many disputes on the origin and validity of the book. After years of study I came to the opinion that the book is what it claims to be. But each person can make up his or her own mind, hopefully after giving the Urantia Book a fair and in- depth read. And that brings us to the reason for the present book.
The Urantia Book is a very difficult read in many parts. It deals with some of the most complex topics in science, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, human and universe history, as well as an almost weekly telling of Jesus' life during his teaching tours. Many people find much of it very difficult to comprehend, especially the first two of its four main sections, which go into the incredible scope and size of the universe, the design and the physics of the universe, and many other complex topics. Yet, it is a book well worth reading, certainly if it is what it claims to be. Happily, its last two sections that cover the unique history of our planet as well as the life and teachings of Jesus are straightforward reads.
This present book, therefore, is an introduction to the Urantia Book, nothing more, nothing less. A small portion of the controversial ideas presented in the Urantia Book will be delineated here. It is my understanding that the Urantia Book is not meant to be the basis for a new institutional religion; rather it is meant to be more like salt to food—-its intent is to enrich and elevate the God-man relationship from fear-based to love-based. To achieve this goal, the book teaches us a more real understanding of the scope and meaning of God's universe, the nature of God, the history of our world, and the actual teachings of Jesus. This present book is not meant to be a scaled-down version of the Urantia Book, nor does this slender volume begin to capture the depth of the Urantia Book. Hopefully, however, some portion of readers will be so stimulated by what they find here that they will decide to take on the Urantia Book in the in-depth manner it requires. If so, they will be richly rewarded.
Chapter TwoThe Missing Years
One of the great mysteries surrounding Jesus is what happened to him between the age of l2 and the age of 30. In the Bible we see him at age 12 going to the Temple in Jerusalem for Passover with his parents, disappearing, and then being found discussing matters of theology with the priests and scholars of the Temple. Then we do not see him again until he is past 30 and starting his public teaching soon after being baptized by John. So what did he do and where was he for the eighteen or nineteen years missing from the Bible? Various writers have had him travelling to India, North and South America, etc., but no one has ever determined for sure what he did during these "missing years" – very formative years in anyone's life.
The Urantia Book covers these missing years in some detail. They were, indeed, formative years. According to the Urantia Book, Jesus lost his father, Joseph, to a construction accident when Jesus was only fourteen. This accident came at a time when Joseph had gone beyond being a carpenter and had become what we would call a general contractor and, as a result, Joseph and Mary and their family enjoyed improved financial conditions. Then disaster struck (or so it seemed). Joseph was killed by a falling derrick while building the governor's new residence in the nearby town of Sepphoris. Suddenly everything changed. Jesus, being the oldest and the only child capable of running his father's carpenter shop, became the sole support of the family. But at his tender age he was not seen as being capable of taking on the responsibilities of being a general contractor. So again, as when Jesus was a small child, his family struggled to make ends meet on a very modest income.
Excerpted from Jesus – The Missing Years, New Teachings & The Afterlife: Based On The Urantia Book by Paul D. Knott Copyright © 2012 by Paul D. Knott, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 - Introduction....................1
Chapter 2 - The Missing Years....................11
Gonod And Ganid....................14
Travels In Crete And Carthage....................19
On The Way To Greece....................22
The Two Prostitutes....................24
More Meetings In Corinth....................25
The Great Trip Ends....................27
Chapter 3 - Personality Survival Into The Afterlife....................31
The Light And The Way....................34
Chapter 4 - Who Is Jesus?....................41
Chapter 5 - On Evil, – Why Is It Permitted By A Loving God?....................53
Acts Of Providence And Natural Disasters....................57
An Eye For An Eye....................59
Evil And The "Devil"....................61
The Meaning Of Evil In God's Universe....................66
Chapter 6 - Woman....................69
Male And Female....................72
Chapter 7 - The Unique History Of Urantia And The Lucifer Rebellion....................77
Chapter 8 - Adam And Eve....................85
Chapter 9 - The Afterlife....................95
Chapter 10 - A Few Of Jesus' Teachings....................101
Teachings – Jesus' Response To James On Unity....................101
Teachings – Jesus' Response To Jacob On God's "Anger"....................102
Teachings – Flavius With The Beautiful House....................103
Teachings – Response To Philip On "Weakness"....................104
Teachings—Jesus' Response To Andrew On Self-Control....................107
Jesus' Talk With Nathaniel On Validity Of Scripture....................108
Teachings On Angels....................109
Teachings On Family – A Day With John Mark....................110
Some Additional Teachings....................113